A mile south of Shinnecock Inlet floats the Shinnecock Sea Buoy. Unbeknownst to most anglers, the area that surrounds the buoy is a dumping ground for the commercial fleet that bands together at the commercial docks located at the east end of Dune Road in Hampton Bays.
Please don’t be misguided, the material that is dumped is all environmentally friendly and poses no threats to fish or any wildlife. Hazardous debris such as broken fishing nets, fish pots and the likes are all discarded properly on land at recycling depots. Broken markers, broken up wooden pots minus the wire mesh and the likes are what clutters the area.
The commercial clan deliberately sets the debris where within weeks, the material is transformed into mollusk and all forms of crustacean havens that acts no differently than any artificial reef. In fact, the commercial fleet has kept this tight lipped, sharing the oasis only with family, close friends and amongst themselves. This area will also pay big dividends when the local Shinnecock Reef is congested with boats and picked clean of quality fish such as when sea bass season debuts, and everyone is out for their share of the bounty.
Sea bass, scup, triggerfish and big fluke are drawn to the manmade field through the course of the season. Drifting the usual hi/lo rigs with clam strips gets the scup and biscuits, whereas chrome balls, bucktails and teasers with strip baits such as squid, sea robin and mackerel really work effectively here. Plain Jane fluke rigs baited with spearing and strips are very effective as well. Bluefish and big striped bass also look for some easy pickings in the spring and fall from the area. I suggest if you are targeting the linesiders here, try trolling wire and jigging parachutes or umbrella rigs equipped with plastic swim shads. If the choppers are around, they’ll accept the offerings as well. Triggerfish can really infest the area by late summer early fall where clam baits and sea bass rigs produce just fine. As the days of autumn turn to fall you will find some small blackfish here, although there are some bruisers for the taking if you are lucky to find a high patch of clutter on the fishfinder.
As you motor along around the buoy area, the bottom recorder will prominently echo back a low profile of what seems as a fuzzy bottom. Should that be the case, then you are on target and can drift the bottom for fluke, biscuits and scup. Some loss of tackle is imminent while drifting, however the fish are spread and anchoring will not be nearly as productive. Fret not as snags are not that awful since the debris lies low on the bottom. If you want to test your dexterity and make it a point to hunt down some quality blackfish, look for the high profile pieces. Try anchoring directly on top of the high spots. Here my friends will offer your best shot at some quality togs. Green crabs start the tog season off here, and as the water hits the magical mark of 55 degrees hermit and white crabs can be added to the menu. This also holds true while togging at the nearby Shinnecock Reef as well.